Overview Email Marketing Comparison
For many an evening in 2004, three people sat Around a single desk in a small medical office — an office which served as the group’s conference room, lunch room, and idea heart. Backed by a small programming group in India, the trio (consisting of Benchmark Internet Group founder Curt Keller, his wife Denise, and an search engine optimization expert) discussed ideas for how to execute a deceptively simple idea. Simple email marketing. Many of their thoughts were beyond the means of this fledgling business, but that did not stop Keller from moving ahead.
The first Clients of Benchmark Mail were small businesses located in close proximity to Benchmark’s one-room HQ in Long Beach, CA. Keller and his team personally sold them on the use of email marketing, while working hard to make a simple user interface which would be easy to operate. All the time, the business championed such innovative ideas as customizable templates and applications which adapted to user requirements. They also made certain from the outset that anybody who needed help would have rapid access to outstanding customer support.
Benchmark Has continued to grow and advantagesper. Its current focus. Providing global email marketing services to small and midsize businesses while continuing to honor a commitment to assist children in need. This does not indicate that Benchmark is a little-guys-only service, however; it has stuck to its core principle of adaptability and serves big organizations such as UNICEF and Kaiser-Permanente via its High Volume Business plans.
Today, Benchmark serves upwards of 73,000 users from across the planet, however, the company has not forgotten its origins. Benchmark still keeps good relationships with small, locally-based businesses. In reality, the company supplies a full page of testimonials from local users of this app. You may read about Benchmark’s background and development here.
While most of the attributes Benchmark provides Are on par with the rest of the business, among the standout characteristics of the ESP is the fact that most of its attributes come standard with every single accounts — including the free ones. Here are some of Benchmark’s most noteworthy offerings.
· Hundreds of Industry-Specific, Themed Templates. Benchmark provides all users access to the library of over 400 templates. These are organized into 19 categories, some of which are tailored to specific industries like education, entertainment, and retailstores. There is also a class for societal media-specific templates.
· Video Emails. Possibly the best-known advantage of Benchmark is its support for video emails. The business describes the advantages of this feature here.
· Online Surveys. You can create professional-looking online surveys using among Benchmark’s 6 templates. Post your poll on your website or build it directly into an email.
· Dedicated Email Server. All Benchmark’s High Volume plans come with a dedicated IP address to help increase deliverability rates. Users on other programs have the option of paying for this service ($30/month) to boost their particular delivery stats. Read more about the benefits of dedicated servers .
· Email Delivery Direction . Benchmark’s email shipping management program is all about getting customers’ mails into inboxes. The business is a member of the Email Sender and Provider Coalition and works with ReturnPath, a top email delivery and delivery service. The company also communicates with ISPs on its customers’ behalf. Email Marketing Comparison
· Mobile App. Benchmark’s mobile apps make it possible for customers with an Apple device to get several functions on the road. They can get and add contacts, browse reports, send videos via integration using a YouTube account, and even design and send fast email blasts with one of 10 templates that are available. This is quite a little more than a number of other companies offer on their mobile apps, which makes them considerably more functional.
· Photo Editing. If the pictures you intend to use on your email campaign are not perfectly sized or want some color adjustment, you can use Benchmark’s integrated picture editor. This is a fairly handy feature if you don’t have photoshop available.
· Code Editor. In case you have the know-how to work magic with HTML, Benchmark provides this ultra-customization choice with which you may construct your mails from scratch.
· Autoresponder. Each Benchmark customer has the power to design around eight custom autoresponder messages. These could be scheduled as a string or occasion lead-up, or made as yearly messages like birthday or anniversary mails.
· Sign-Up Types . The only way to be successful in email marketing is by way of growing your own list, and Benchmark really promotes doing so through sign-up forms. The company bases its Free For Life account entirely around website and Facebook sign-ups and provides an easy-to-use instrument to create customized templates for each medium.
· Inbox Checker. Because every email program is different and each web browser has a signature style, making sure that your emails look great across the board is important. It is possible to use Inbox Checker to have a look at the way your email displays in Gmail using Explorer and Outlook 3. Using the entire app (which assesses everything out of AOL to Yahoo, Explorer to Safari, mobile to PC) is a paid add-on service, available for $14 each 100 checks.
· RSS-to-Email. Regular bloggers may create newsletters out of their blogs mechanically through the RSS-to-Email feature, which works with any site which handles an RSS-feed. Users simply need to establish a campaign and template within Benchmark once.
· API Integration. An API (Application Program Interface) allows different software programs to communicate with one another without a formal plug-in link. Benchmark’s API Integration feature allows users with XML-RPC, HTTP POST, or HTTP GET skills to retrieve data from other programs which use JSON, XML, XML-RPC, or PHP serialization strings. In brief, this allows them to play three functions. Manage contact lists, manage campaigns and effort sending, and assess data. The business describes this role in more detail .
· Advanced Metrics. Benchmark provides both Listing Segmentation and AB Split Testing.
· Multiple-Language Interface. Benchmark is available in seven languages. Chinese, English, German, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ease Of Use
Signing up for a Benchmark account is fairly straightforward. After entering your name, email, contact number, and business name, you have to confirm your email address. This was a five-minute procedure for me. Upon logging into my account (with the free program ) I was greeted by an attractive UI that gave me a very clear path about how to make my first email campaign. Good start!
Email Campaign Creation
On its own dashboard, Benchmark offers users five chief options. Emails, Automations, Contacts, Surveys, and Reports. To create a new effort, proceed to the Emails segment, then hit on the big blue”Create New Email” button at the top right-hand corner. Email Marketing Comparison
From there, you must decide If You Would like an RSS Or classic email message. It is possible to use Benchmark’s drag-and-drop editor, or move for more customization with the built-in code editor. If you’re somebody who codes their own email, then my hat is off to you, but I am not personally gifted that way, so I went with the drag-and-drop option.
I was prompted to enter a subject line for my Email and setup how much observation I desired on the message, as well as when I wanted an automatic tweet when the effort went out. The following task was to select which contacts I wanted to receive the campaign. With that, I was eventually able to begin building the email itself. If you would like to, you are able to assemble your personal email designs employing an extremely intuitive editor. On the other hand, you can modify one of Benchmark’s templates, which can be great, and better than I managed to do in my.
Preventing the Email Campaign
If You’re just Starting out, you can do as I did and manually enter contacts one at a time. However, for those who already have a list, there are several ways to import it. You are able to upload a CSV, xls, or txt file directly from the personal computer; import contacts directly from Salesforce.com, Hotmail, or Gmail accounts; or copy and paste huge lists of contacts into a text type. Once you make your Benchmark lists, they’ll show up on your dash, along with a Master Unsubscribe List.
The sending of the email is rather easy. Once you have finished all of your tweaks, you may either save the email as a draft, send it immediately, or schedule a date and time for delivery. If you want to verify everything is well before unleashing your email on the world, it is possible to send it to yourself to preview it as many as 10 times/day. I chose to schedule my email for shipping to see how timely the automated system would actually be. I scheduled my email for 2.45 and received it in 2.50, therefore while the timing wasn’t exactly perfect, it was likely present in tolerance levels for many users. If you’re one of the more infrequent users who need on-the-minute email sending, you might need to appear elsewhere. More worryingly, my email didn’t go to my primary inbox but was automatically sorted in my”promotions” folder. Definitely not ideal.
Email Campaign Reporting
The first thing I Discovered about Benchmark email reports was something I would read in a couple of reviews. They are really, really quickly. I mean lightning fast. Opens register in the Benchmark system almost immediately. I’ve worked with a lot of different programs where these reports take hours or even days to look.
Benchmark provides users with several key Bits of information about each campaign. The possibly most important statistic, the available speed, appears in both pie chart and numerical form. Additionally, Benchmark provides users with stats for clicks, forwards, bounces, unsubscribes, and misuse. Every stat further breaks down to the exact email addresses related to a given action. Users can export this information for additional analysis by means of a csv or xls file. There is also a social networking area which reports shares through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, in addition to a map that breaks down, by country, that opens your emails. Email Marketing Comparison
Though all of this information Is Excellent and Necessary, it isn’t enough to sustain higher level marketers who need more info such as conversions, which links were clicked, and revenue analysis. Though Google Analytics provides a lot of that info with appropriate integration, there might come a time when serious marketers need more info than Benchmark provides. Whether or not a small company will get to that point varies, of course, dependent on the business.
Particular Size Of Company
Benchmark made its 3-tiered pricing Structure with the goal of serving everyone from the tiniest kitchen-table startup to big email marketers. However, the company’s key focus is on small to medium companies, particularly those just starting out in email marketing. This is particularly reflected in the fact that customers subscribing to the moderate plans get unlimited emails, while bigger plans have constraints.
Integrations and Add-Ons
Benchmark Offers roughly 20 plug-ins and integrations. If you don’t see the integration you need, there is still hope. You’re able to use the API or request a integration by sending an email to [email protected]
· Benchmark Occasions — Benchmark Occasions is event marketing applications designed to integrate fully with Benchmark Email. Launched in 2012, this app permits users to make and customize occasions, promote and sell tickets, and track the success of their events through their Benchmark Email account. A variety of programs are available, such as a free alternative.
· Salesforce.com — This integration enables users to import contacts into Benchmark and utilize Benchmark’s email system to keep Salesforce customers engaged. Read our review of Salesforce here.
· Twitter — Benchmark Email Lite is a WordPress plug-in which permits users to easily build an email audience through their subscribers. The plugin can automatically produce email variations of blog posts and permits users to connect up to five Benchmark accounts.
· Highrise — Merges Highrise contacts with a Benchmark listing. Read our overview of Highrisehere.
· Benchmark Power — This free plug-in lets you supply images for your Benchmark emails from locations throughout the web. Benchmark Power captures images you find and immediately uploads them to your Benchmark account for future usage.
· Flickr — Users with Flickr accounts may link Flickr to their own Benchmark image galleries.
· Shopify — You can link a Shopify accounts to Benchmark and automatically add Shopify customers to Benchmark lists. You can even add subscribers to various lists based on what they bought. Read our review of Shopify here.
· PayPal — Users may add any of their PayPal customers to their own Benchmark email lists bylinking the account. Read our review of Paypal here.
· Easy List — Know more about this very simple list-making program and download it here.
· WordPress — The ever-present site and website builder provides an integration using Benchmark. Use it to send emails of your blog articles and also use the analytics to observe how your subscribers respond to them. Learn more here.
· Zapier — Gain entry to Zapier’s huge integration library here. Email Marketing Comparison
Social Media Integrations
Since Of the integral connection between social networking and email advertising, it is important to look at the social networking features included in Benchmark.
· Social Media Templates — One section of Benchmark’s enormous email template listing is made of social media-specific templates which directly promote your company’s participation in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
· Facebook”Like” Button — Benchmark provides a simple function which allows you to bring a Facebook”Like” button to your own emails.
· Facebook Sign-Up Form — Benchmark supplies easy-to-create sign-up forms (see”Characteristics” above) for both websites and Facebook enthusiast pages, to help you convert followers to readers.
· Social Links within Mail — Once you connect your Benchmark account together with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, you can add buttons to each email which will direct your readers to each of your social networking pages.
The Business also fully Complies with the U.S.-E.U. and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks concerning the selection of personal data from citizens of those countries. When clients provide credit card amounts to Benchmark, the company uses secure socket layer (SSL) protection to encrypt the information. The whole platform is encrypted to ensure the safety of all customers’ personal information.
Anti-Spam Policy and Protection
Like All legitimate ESPs, Benchmark takes spam seriously and summarizes a clear zero-tolerance policy for any of their users trying to engage in spam actions. The company is entirely in compliance with the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Benchmark additionally takes several measures to preserve its reputation as a spam-free supplier, one of them membership in the Email Sender and Provider Coalition. The business employs the app SpamAssassin to filter messages delivered through its host.
To stop users from Unknowingly sending spam-like materials, Benchmark supplies a spam test feature that looks for words widely utilized in spam messages. It scores every email on a scale from 1 to 5; 5s are assigned to content that’s very likely to be blocked. In the event of a high score, the program suggests”less spammy” choices. Individualized IP addresses also assist large-volume senders decrease their spam numbers.
Client Support and Service
Benchmark Offers its customers a great deal of support tools. Customer support is generally responsive, with minimal waiting times. The website offers good learning tools, but can be opaque at times. Crucial information is often buried and difficult to find, particularly in the event that you don’t know precisely what you’re searching for, especially when it comes to minute particulars about strategies. For instance. That the Free For Life plan includes Benchmark branding on each email, but you won’t find that mentioned on the Free For Life webpage, not even at the fine print. Nor are you going to see it mentioned when you sign up. The only place it’s mentioned is at the FAQ, here.
Here are some of the resources Benchmark offers. Email Marketing Comparison
· Live Support and Email — Benchmark supplies live one-on-one support through these means.
· Email Service. Contact Benchmark at [email protected] or via the organization’s contact form here. Available 24 hours Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday.
· Telephone Support. You can reach Benchmark in 800-430-4095 (U.S.) or 001-562-252-3789 (all states ). Available weekdays from 6 am to 5 pm PT.
· Chat Support. Available nearly 24 hours daily Monday — Friday and limited hours on Saturday. Offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.
· FAQ — Benchmark’s FAQ section is somewhat mislabeled because it is closer to some QandA-format knowledge foundation than a typical FAQ. You will find more than 900 entries, sorted into 18 topics ranging from”Getting Started” to”API.” Users can perform a keyword search of any topic (or sub-topic) or from the FAQ as a whole. 1 caveat. With such a comprehensive knowledge base, it’s pretty much inevitable that some entries will be out of date. Some of the QandAs provide information which is wholly inaccurate, so in some cases, you may want to contact support to hash things out.
· Video Tutorials and Webinars — Benchmark provides about two dozen video tutorials that take users step by step through the features of this program. The business also offers a webinar known as”Benchmark Mail Crash Course.” You may see it live each Friday at 10.00 a.m. PST or watch the recorded version at any moment. You can even ask for a special webinar on quite a few different subjects. Live webinars include the chance to ask questions throughout the demonstration.
· Email Marketing Manuals and Articles — You can find more in-depth details on email marketing generally, in addition to the Benchmark program specifically, at the Manuals Section. These downloadable files also cover industry-specific issues. Articles, similar to sites, offer users advice beyond that found in the FAQ section, but in shorter, more readable chunks than the guides provide.
· Glossary of Email Marketing Requirements — This can be a particularly valuable tool for those new to email marketing who feel absorbed by all the jargon. Benchmark gives a glossarywith 50 of the most popular email advertising conditions from”above-the-fold” into”whitelists.”
· Website and Newsletter — For current information about email marketing trends, check out Benchmark’s monthly newsletter, in addition to its extremely active site. All subscribers automatically gain access to present newsletters, and Benchmark also provides an archive of newsletter posts from November 2007-October 2012.
· Benchmark Community — Benchmark users can post their latest newsletters on message boards at the Benchmark Community. This forum allows users to talk about newsletter production strategies, vote for their favorite newsletters, and gain inspiration from additional Benchmark users.
Web-Based Or Locally-Installed
Benchmark is completely web-based and does not Require any installation on your PC.
Favorable Reviews and Testimonials
Benchmark Has a four-out-of-five star rating on G2 Crowd, using a slightly better showing on GetApp and Capterra. 4.5 stars each. Email Marketing Comparison
Some common points of praise.
· Top Notch Service . This is perhaps the most common observation regarding Benchmark, and something I noticed for myself as well. People today are inclined to find support prompt and helpful, and some say it is really the element that distinguishes Benchmark from its competitors. The company also receives praise for its blog articles and videos.
· Characteristic Selection Across All Aims . Some users praise the addition of features like AB testing and surveys in most programs; many companies charge extra for these attributes or only include them in their pricier programs.
· Ease of Use. Users tend to locate Benchmark’s interface extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The program gathers compliments from a broad range of demographics, from first time ESP consumers to those who have tried many different programs before settling on Benchmark.
· Mobile Friendly Emails. Users were impressed with all the mobile-friendly email layout of Benchmark’s templates. Since more and more people access their email from mobile devices, this is an increasingly significant aspect to consider.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
I was Unable to find many Men and Women who disliked Their Benchmark experience. But, I managed to find a few complaints.
· Inconsistent Send-Times. Apparently a few users experienced a problem with Benchmark where their mails were sent hours after they were first scheduled. One customer theorized that the issue might arise in long lists of recipients. Not all clients of Benchmark will have time-sensitive sending needs, but others will. If you want your emails to go out exactly when your program dictates, you might have to take into account this issue.
· Buggy Social Media Integrations. I watched several consumer testimonials that remarked the social media integrations in Benchmark are not up to par.
· “Spammy” Templates. Some users were concerned that Benchmark’s templates may feel like spam email, leading recipients to mark them as spam rather than reading the contents. Since the whole point of an ESP would be to stop this from occurring, this might be a problem. On the flip side, I never felt this way while searching through the template list, so it might not be the most legitimate of complaints.
Benchmark Provides a enormous variety of pricing strategies, such as a totally free plan and a huge scale of paid plans that can service anywhere between 600 and 7,140,000 subscribers.
Benchmark’s free plans do not require charge Cards, that is always refreshing. The only catch. There’ll be a little Benchmark logo at the bottom of each email you send out. Of course, you may always opt to upgrade to a paid plan in case you don’t need the Benchmark branding. The free plan allows you to send up to 14000 emails to around 2000 subscribers and provides you access to most but not all of Benchmark’s features list. Notable absences to the attributes list for free account comprise email automation and sub-accounts (allowing many users to access one Benchmark accounts ).
Paid Strategies. Email Marketing Comparison
Users with little contacts lists and limited Monthly messages have the choice of paying for their email marketing depending on the amount of emails that they send every month.
o Medium Plans. 600-50,000 subscribers, $13.99-$254.99 a month
o Large Plans. 55,000-100,000 subscribers, $285.99-$494.99 a month
o Extra Large Plans. 125,000-1,000,000 subscribers, $659.99-$4,273.99 a month
o Massive Plans. 1,070,000-7,140,000 subscribers, $4,500-$29,200 a month
Benchmark accepts all Major credit cards and also lets you pay through PayPal. They also offer a 25% reduction for nonprofits and teachers.
Benchmark is a good program. It is Simple to Use, Open to invention, and competitively priced. Its free alternatives might just be the very best in the business for anybody who just wants to dip into email marketing (particularly small, neighborhood businesses). For that matter, any Benchmark plan can work well for a small company which views email as a minor aspect of its advertising and does not have any desire to operate beyond the principles just yet.
If you are a little or even medium-sized Company looking for a easy email advertising program using a host of great features, Benchmark is an excellent choice. Even though there may come a time when you outgrow the app, it provides a lot for the price, offers exceptional service, and the company seems to be sensitive to the needs of its customers. You can’t ask for more.